J. Earl Landry says for 17 of his 34 years with Esso Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil) he played in the refinery band.

He says one of the band’s favorite gigs was the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival:

“Once, upon returning to work after playing there, I raved about the great times in Breaux Bridge to a new employee, Jim Hannan, a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

“The next year Jim decided to take in the festival. He went to a café in Breaux Bridge to eat, then sat there waiting.

“After an hour or so, he asked the waitress when the Cajun music would start, because it was after 5 p.m.

“She told him they didn’t have any live music in the café.

“Jim told her that couldn’t be so, then marched her outside, where a sign in the window said ‘Hot Boudin tonight — 5 p.m.’ ”

Which reminds me

I don’t know of a band called Hot Boudin, although I don’t doubt that there is one somewhere in Acadiana.

But I do know the band Hot Tuna, which in October of 2000 performed at Hemingbough in St. Francisville.

I wasn’t there, but I heard about a great scene from some blues aficionado — Robby Zeringue, Kenny Acosta, somebody like that.

As it was described to me, Hot Tuna was playing at an outdoor pavilion overlooking a pond.

As it grew dark, a full moon appeared just behind the band, shining down into the water.

And in that water there appeared the head of a curious alligator, who swam over to see what the sound was about.

It was indeed a memorable sight. …


Charles Valluzzo says McDonald’s in Baton Rouge celebrates 50 years in business May 16 at its Plank Road location.

He’s trying to find any 1963 employees, so if you worked there that year call (225) 929-6430.

Which reminds me

Back when McDonald’s unveiled its Big Mac, an advertising campaign emphasized the size of the two-patty burger.

A lady I knew who lived near the Plank Road McDonald’s got one of her friends to come with her to try the new sandwich.

They were so impressed by the commercials that when she ordered the Big Mac she asked the server waiting on them if he could cut it in half so she and her friend could share it.

The kid, no doubt a bit confused, did as she asked.

They were surprised that the burger wasn’t quite as huge as it appeared in the ads. …

Looking for stuff

  • Carole Cross says Theatre Baton Rouge (the former Little Theater) needs, for its production of “Move Over Mrs. Markham” May 3-19, “a London/United Kingdom telephone book, plus several decorator designer catalogues to use as props.”

She adds, “For our summer musical, ‘Les Miserables,’ June 28 to July 21, we will need a deep freezer — preferably to keep.”

Donors can contact the theater at (225) 924-6496.

(I’m pondering that second request — can we expect “Les Miz on Ice?”)

  • Ricky Dawson seeks information about Robert Edgar Sharkey, his grandfather, who was born in 1880 and died in 1940:

“He was the supervisor at Maryland Tank Farm in Baker, now Exxon. He wrote poems about Gov. Huey Long, which we are in the process of having published.

He says his dad, Flinn Dawson, got five poems from an Exxon co-worker, and wonders if there are more.

He’s also looking for stories about his grandfather, “a colorful character.”

Call (225) 413-8543 or email attitudecoach@gmail.com.

Growth industry

A “giant plant sale” Saturday and Sunday at the Burden Center raises funds for teaching young and old folks about growing plants, plus help with the center’s grounds and programs.

Margaret Hawkins says it’s an outgrowth of the LSU AgCenter’s Master Gardener program.

Go to http://www.mgplantsale.com.

Special People Dept.

  • Hugh O’Connor celebrates his 97th birthday Sunday. Hugh says he’s the oldest member of the Baton Rouge Country Club, as well as its oldest golfer.
  • Ed Guedry, of Brusly, celebrates his 94th birthday Saturday.
  • D.E. and Dot Hunt, of Zachary, celebrate 63 years of marriage Sunday. He’s a Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War.
  • Piyo and Anna Lee Gautreau celebrated their 62nd anniversary Sunday, April 7.

Thought for the Day

From Richard M. Gibson, of Lafayette: “Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”

Selective expertise

Shirley Fleniken tells of the driving instructor who remarked to a parent, “Isn’t it remarkable how quickly the kids learn to drive the car?”

The parent replied, “Yes, especially considering how slowly they catch on to running the lawn mower and vacuum cleaner.”

Write Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.